Zero Waste Research Center & Plastic Disclosure Project

Project Leads: Kimberly Lam, Liz Chan, Lin King, Shannon Davis, Caitlin Catalano, Kristen Klein, Emily McKeon, Kellie Carlson, Lena Forti, Geertje Grootenhuis; beginning summer 2014, project moved under SERC leadership

Sponsor: Campus Recycling and Refuse Services, SERC, and TGIF

TGIF Grant: $19,100

Project Theme: Waste Reduction

Project Location

2012 Application Submission

Status: Complete

Project Description: This grant will fund five student interns charged with running a Zero Waste Research Center and Plastic Disclosure Project to address the issues surrounding upstream waste that currently prevent UC Berkeley from attaining its zero waste goal. The purpose of the project is to create a strategic long-term plan to reduce unnecessary plastic use, encourage more efficient plastic use, and build strategic partnerships on campus. The Plastic Disclosure Project is a project of the Ocean Recovery Alliance.

Goals: The Zero Waste Research Center will receive information from waste assessments and audits to identify the materials that the campus does not have an existing method of diverting from the landfill. The ZWRC will work with professors, graduate students, product vendors, manufacturers, city, county, and state agencies as well as stakeholders from other universities and institutions to research, develop, and set up alternative products and policies to use materials that can be easily diverted. In addition, the ZWRC will work with vendors to develop take-back programs for reuse of products. It may also work with the campus purchasing department on developing greener purchasing policies to include or mandate these alternative products and practices. The Plastic Disclosure Project (PDP) will specifically address the need for better alternatives to upstream sources and downstream destinations of plastic through the disclosure of a campus plastic footprint. PDP will enable UC Berkeley to establish the first public disclosure of plastic use on campus. The project will also educate the campus community on desirable plastic recycling practices, and create a long-term plan of action to both reduce plastic use and find ways to re-purpose or recycle plastic that is currently thrown away.